tv News and Public Affairs CSPAN May 27, 2012 5:15pm-6:00pm EDT
a model for turn out. a lot of the candidates were appealing to the general public's. the ones that did well were the ones that appeal to passion it minorities. you don't have to get a majority, you have to get a determine plurality. the remarkable thing is both leading candidates combined got just below 50%. when you look at turn out of the egyptian election which is the more depressing story, you only had a little over 40% turnout. the initial polls showed 90% of the public's that we're going to vote and less than half of that and that voting. that's why a lot of people are looking at this like it is not representative.
the second is close at nearly 24%. this is difficult, particularly for the young revolutionaries because the liberals believe there was a conspiracy between the military establishment and muslim brotherhood. in fact it was sort of a standard operation that's marginalize liberals early on and they ended up getting stuck and ended up getting the muslim brotherhood in either one is having a majority. we are going to have a lot of coalition building and this is due to the can that it's getting a majority. you have been seeing that with the muslim brotherhood candidate offering the vice presidencies to the next leading
candidates, to this secular, leftist arab nationalists who did exceptionally well in the election. almost within reach of the top two and then the liberal islamist were also brought to roughly 18% of the vote. one of the liberal members of parliament who is well known and used to be with the carnegie endowment, in the egyptian parliament, initially the actual candidates are improbable but not crazy because the muslim brotherhood initially did not want to feel their own candidate. this is a situation where they felt they had to do it. they initially wanted to put forth a liberal candidate that
was more secular. they could put forward like a guy from the atomic energy agency. the constitution was not clear on presidential power. we will see a lot of politics going on between now and the 16th of june, including some challenges to the elections because while these were relatively transparent elections, there are still some issues of lot of candidates -- it's unlikely to make a difference but it will clearly complicate the picture. host: we want to get a perspective from inside cairo. joining us on the phone is the
bureau chief of the "washington post." i would like to get on something from your newspaper yesterday. essentially, regardless of who wins the elections in egypt, neither is good news for the u.s. do you agree or disagree? can you elaborate on what is going on on the ground? guest: a lot of people feel this has become the worst case scenario for egypt, the most polarizing options have come to the forefront. the islamist candidates are much more conservative than others and people see the other as part of the mubarak regime. so when they were talking about how polarizing the runoff could be, more than 50% did not choose
on election day. >> when you talk to voters in cairo, what questions are you asking more what are you hearing from these folks? >> are you talking about on election day? guest: we are getting a sense of real fear from those who voted for the other candidates. what they feel right now is to not very great choices. the former military officer has openly said the rule of an iron fist is needed. or do i vote a more conservative system here? a lot of these people feel there
is no good choice and what do i do your? you also hear a lot of people talking about boycotting and said of choosing between candidates that they feel are not for them. guest: it is more vague comments -- this is about their role of the u.s. i know you have a sense of the issues on the ground, but this is not about the u.s. in the end, this is all about egypt and the kind of government they want. i don't agree with the fact that the u.s. is stuck between too horrible choices because it doesn't matter who is going to become the president of egypt. one is we're not going back to the same relationship that existed in the mubarak era.
second, "a crazy radical rupturing relations with the u.s. because every major candidate, including the muslim brotherhood candidate, i understand they have to have the relationship with the rest of the world. they do not want to rock the boat and understand the need for an aid in the need to focus on the home front. there will be differences among them, but i think it is all limited space where they will operate. i think the best thing to do is to give up the egyptians their space to operate and then work with whoever emerges. the minute we try to be taking sides, that is the kiss of death and we should ourselves in the foot. guest: i agree completely. this election is not about the u.s.
you have the muslim brotherhood candidates talking to american diplomats here and the first thing they reassured them about is the treaty. to talk about issues such as the relationship with the u.s., [inaudible] these issues when it comes to the u.s. are not important at this moment. as you can see from the voting, no candidate got a majority of the voters. the muslim brotherhood was about 40% of the votes. we are going to see lots of people. you already have all of the candidates crying fraud.
host: we appreciate your time and perspective. thank you. our phone lines are open. give us a call. you can also send us an e-mail. we have this from bill -- roughly eight in 10 egyptians, 79% express favorable attitudes toward -- expressed unfavorable attitudes toward the u.s. guest: i had a poll that showed similar results. this has not changed much for the past decade, frankly. the only time this changed a little bit was in 2009 when president obama, elected and there is a feeling of anything
but bullish after eight years, they were very angry with the iraq issue and optimistic about obama. their views were still-of the u.s. but they were giving obama more of a positive and negative outlook. hall of that changed within a year. people were frustrated and it went the other around. the poll we conducted in may, the same thing happened. it is not a surprise. but when you ask people -- the poll we conducted just a couple of weeks ago, we asked people what is the main issue they are voting on when they are selecting a candidate for president? foreign policy was not very
high. mostly the economy and unemployment. foreign-policy is not very high. the only candidate who received high marks for his foreign policy was the one who placed fifth among the candidates. when you look at egyptians, when you ask as i did in two polls, when you asked about their vision for the country, what country do they want their country to vote still look like, -- to most look like, a majority of egyptians select turkey. turkey as you know is a contemporary democracy with an all islamic character. it has good relations with the united states but is independent
and not -- the vision of egyptians is much more limited than people think in terms of the change they want, including in the role of religion. i know a lot of people are terrified by this idea that egypt will turn into a theocracy. there is always a danger, particularly when you have a political minority manipulated -- manipulating politics. but when you ask egyptians what role they want religion to play, two-thirds say they want sharia law to be the basis of law. but when you ask if they want sharia islamic law to be implemented in the penal code or if you use when the spirit adapted to modern times, 83% say they just want the spirit of sharia law adapted to modern times. even the most egyptians tend to
be religious, they are not thinking about the role of religion in that way, and that showed itself in the election. decanted who placed third and who is very close to being one of the top two with roughly 23% of the vote, the biggest shocker is that he won in areas that were seem to be the conservative places like alexandria. but he was secular and is by no means one who would be counted as an ally of the islamic rule. but that tells you something about the dynamics of politics. it is far more complicated than we have been led to believe. host: we have one simple point and the water page calling the situation over there -- what a mess.
our guest is the author of a number of books, including "a decade of reflections on piste -- on a piece." he worked for congressman lee hamilton. our next call is from connecticut. caller: i want to ask, i was following the arab spring and egypt just like that have been reading for the occupy wall street here in this country. i have heard the muslim brotherhood has been revamped and is much more moderate. i wonder if there is really a choice at all? the third candidate you were talking about, is he the candidates who would have mostly encapsulated the views of the people who were in the square? >> let's start with the muslim
brotherhood briefly. i am not sure whether they have become moderate or not. they have always been a middle- class, conservative, don't rock the boat too much, nonviolent movement. by and large. we have seen that in all of the contentions -- all the contentious movements. they're appealing to the core segment of the supporters for this round of the election and focused on the application of sharia law. he had competition from a more liberal islamist who was doing quite well. he was ahead until two weeks ago. it is not clear that they have profoundly changed their outlook.
exactlye we don't know how many card holding members, there are estimates of people who say it's only about 700,000 card holding members. clearly, they are appealing to the broad public. they were the best organized group, if you look at the remarkable story of the 13 candidates running for president, the only genuine party backing any candidate was the muslim brotherhood. everyone else was roughly independent, but there was no major organizing infrastructure. yet despite that, all they could muster was 25% of the vote, which probably was a larger section of the turnout. i suspect when we analyze the turnout, only alone over 40% of
those eligible to vote turned out. i think the members of the muslim brotherhood will probably turn out in larger numbers in this particular election. we are not -- they are not getting a huge support which is why they understand that for them to win the election in three weeks between their candidate, they will have to broaden their coalition. they will understand there is a lot of resentment. he is a technocrat and a part of the former regime, don't underestimate the importance of the military, not just organizationally but there members of their families have at stake.
he does have some support but there is a lot of resentment and the brotherhood is beginning to play on that and they're going to try to appeal to the liberals and unless they do that, they cannot play. host: did hosni mubarak expect the uprising? is that something he thought would happen? guest: not in his wildest dreams. even after it started, he was laughing, saying it cannot happen in egypt. the very fact he was grooming his son to be president was an indication hold a of how positive the war. i met with an ambassador of a foreign country just one week
after mubarak was overthrown and had dinner with an ambassador of another country that i will not mention. that ambassador accompanied a high-level envoy to meet with mubarak and then the -- and the then vice president the day before he resigned. he told me that both mubarak -- bogart -- he thought security could stop this thing in the military would be the last resort if need be. i'm sure there confidence was shaken but this did not in their wildest dream, i don't think he believed it. there was an assassination
attempt against him in the 1980's -- 1990's, actually. i forget the exact date of the assassination attempt. but after that, it was clear that he changed and it it became much more of a security state and he was much more reliant and became more confident about his stakes. host: our guest is a fellow at the brookings institution in washington d.c. and a member of the council on foreign relations. our next call is from wilmington, delaware. caller: i just wanted to ask -- i heard you say the u.s. should not be getting involved and be very concerned because they had such a small following. anybody who has heard what they are saying, that they want death
in the name of allah. he has a right to come back and forth. why should we not be concerned that people are like this are living in our country or hear it live -- with their kids to europe this crap and our country. guest: actually, they won eight parliamentary elections and have been sending delegations around the world, making more official statements. they have not been making wild statements about the relationship with the u.s. for the peace treaty with israel. i met with the delegation may sent to washington while they were here. some of his supporters have different views, but in the end, it's not just what they
stand for, it is whether the egyptian people will allow them to carry out something that is too radical for the public. aain't there is a resolute -- revolutionary spirit that will stay within egypt. this is not apathetic offend that took place in egypt. -- apathetic event that took place in egypt. it is with us to stay. i think you are going to find that the situation in egypt will evolve. i don't think u.s. shouldn't care. egypt is very important to the u.s. and has been an anchor for decades. it matters because of the stability of the israeli peace treaty which is also an anchor in the region. the u.s. has to care, but what i
am saying is the u.s. has no capability to influence the outcome and the more we try, the worse it gets. host: will the outcome of the election's impact us directly or are we worried about the impact on friendly nations in the israel? guest: the is real question is essential. if you go into congress, and i briefed many members right after the uprising started, before and after mubarak was overthrown. the first thing they ask is will each become an islamist state and cut its relations with israel? those are the concerns and israel as a huge win for the u.s.. it is important in congress, but there is more. let me explain.
when you look at it, egypt is a the most important arab state. it's the role model for what happens in the region. so it is not a surprise that the expansion happened after the egyptians abandoned the soviet union and join the west as part of the camp david deal that happened in the late 1970's. that not only created a major country that is ideal for the implementation policies in the country bet if you look at american strategy with a continued american presence in the gulf, even without the iraq war, there are thousands of american troops in bases in the gulf region. there has to be coordination and cover.
they have to provide that cover and coordinate with the u.s. and coordinate as an ally of the u.s.. every american leader has to know, the strategy toward the uprising in the arab world is that egypt is core and how each it comes out will impact everything else. the focus has to be an economic stability of egypt and working with egypt internationally, the matter who they elect. >> it is the top of the hour, we will, our listeners. we are talking about the elections in egypt. my guest --
caller: with 80% of the anti- american sentiment, this is a direct consequence of the blind hatred of muslims and arabs that are on top of what bush and cheney did in iraq. the republican congress, they're blind hatred of muslims, and the fox news propaganda. even the hatred for president obama because he may be an arab.
this is not [inaudible] how it soundslize to some people in other parts of the world that are listening to this hatred for these people and their religion. guest: the polarization that happened between america and muslim countries after 9/11 is real. your people focus on the islamic threat and they are seeing american for the policy as targeting muslims. we have seen that over the whole decade. we have a lot of pollsters who
have been measuring this over the past decade. but i have to tell you about the egyptian attitude toward the u.s. there is no question in my mind that the core anchor -- i would not say hatred. that's not the right word -- the core anger with american policy is over the israel-palestine question. we have seen exactly how that went up and down. even their attitude toward obama. i know obama is seen here to be sympathetic toward the middle east but in the least he seems to be unsympathetic. beginning in 2010, we are beginning to see things going the other way. i recall appearing on an egyptian television show, quoting from the washington post article emphasizing president obama's christian religiosity
was quiet and projects his religiosity here and people were wondering if he was a closet evangelical. in the meantime, people were accusing him of having muslim groups. their judgment is based on policy and the policy that matters most is the israel- palestine policy. host: this past week, our guest posted a policy which is available on-line at politico. this from one of our viewers -- to economic problems paid about -- play a large role in the egyptian elections? guest: they do. but they are talking that is putting bread on the table,
freedom, and dignity. those are the things people chant all the time. when we asked in the polls, what drove their a electoral behavior and the parliamentary election and what is driving their behavior toward the presidential election, we find the economy is up there as one of the top three issues. the other two are first party affiliation, which is why the brotherhood did particularly well, but followed by the economy and personal trust. the economy and employment are high up there. they are major factors. tied to that is a sense that the economic uncertainty is tied to security uncertainty. the no. 2 candidate who will face off with the muslim brotherhood candidate -- these
elections have not officially been announced. he made the security issue a paramount issue and as a necessary condition for economic development, particularly tourism. he seems to have a lot of people who supported him on that issue. caller: about your last caller -- 90% of the media is pro- obama. it's nice to have fox network on the other side. as far as egypt goes, i think we have a to headed snake. it's just which one is going to buy you harder? if he could give me a quick
history lesson, who is behind the assassination of anwar sadat in 1981? >> the assassination was carried out by an extreme islamist group, the muslim brotherhood, but an offshoot of the muslim brotherhood who went militant. some of the members of that group, which are obviously a terrific in using violence have since actually said they made a big mistake in assassinating him because they thought he was far more tolerant than mubarak. so it is interesting they have had a change of heart. but that particular group is no longer a major force and never
really was a major force but they asserted themselves and very ugly ways, including the assassination of on moore's about. host: our next call is from hollywood, florida. caller: i am speaking as an egyptian american. i have lived in both countries and i see both sides of the story. one of the things i wanted to point out is egypt has suffered 60 years of for my lack of education. most people there have been pushed not to think of politics, but what they're going to have for dinner. on the other side, egyptian -- egypt is very important to the states, but the problem i see is it's another like of education, not in terms of illiteracy, but
in terms of how the media in the state's portray the egyptian people and the egyptian mind set and the role of the americans to reach out to the public and give proper education about the state. just like the doctor said -- they don't hate the u.s., they just want to make sure there is fair play in the sense of foreign policy. but i think the media here is a very important factor as well as reaching out to educate the people of egypt. it is a double sided edge. i see a lot of this education aid and the u.s. about islam is and what muslims are. but the u.s. should move forward and what do you think the u.s. should do to move forward in terms of these two points?
guest: log me talk about two aspects of which she said. first, education. the educational system in egypt. the second is the media environment. the educational system is in big trouble in egypt. i think every candidate understands that. a few years ago, there is a global ranking of all the universities. i think there were 30 in africa. that is remarkable for university that was a leader during the movement of the nonalignment and the emergence of africa. but the media environment is really interesting because since the revolution, something really did happen in egypt. the media open that address a
proliferation of newspapers and even the semi-official papers have far more variation and independent writers than before. i actually enjoy reading the egyptian press every day, many times, whereas in the old days, used to go a couple of times a month and scan it and would follow a couple of commentators who are very thoughtful. but by and large, i did not look at it. i think the egyptian public is getting something very different. i am very impressed with the quality of some of the talent being put out there both in writing and in television and the degree of professionalism that seems to have emerged. of course you're also going to get a lot of people who are not professional when you have an environment that is changing.
but if that is going to be a core factor in the way politics involves in egypt. >> whenever quarter fallers says what percentage of eligible voters is casting votes? guest: the unofficial results is about 43% turnout. only 43% of eligible voters turned out. that's why -- its surprisingly low and i think surprise in because a lot of people anticipated a higher level of participation. some of the polls were showing some unlike 90% of the public was going to vote. when i wrote my piece just before the elections come i said we cannot predict how people are going to behave. we might know what the trends are because it's all going to be
about turnout. the people who turn out to the ones who are going to determine the outcome of the election. the story may be the muslim brotherhood were able to get their story out there in higher numbers which is why they were able to have that candidate do well enough in comparison to parliamentary elections. they did not expect to be in this position. they wanted to be king makers but now they have to scramble to create an alliance for the election in three weeks. host: how many people live in the country? waters of its biggest exports? >> the population is roughly 80 million. it is by far the largest arab state. in comparison, if you want to put it in the perspective of other countries in the middle east, it is roughly equal with turkey.
just a little bigger than iran. those are the countries to compare it to in terms of population and the economy. the turkish economy is stronger and the iranian economy is stronger overall than the egyptian economy. i do not know the exact square mileage. it is quite large geographically but it is mostly desert. the concentration of the population is all along the nile river and the delta. that is north, by the mediterranean. the cluster of the population is concentrated along a relatively small region, running across the nile river. host: our last call is from cleveland, ohio. caller: the egyptian
presidential elections are important to the egyptian people. do you or the speaker think the natives of america, if they had natives within their own government across america, would that be important to them? guest: i think the primary thing for the u.s. as american policy in the middle east. have our own public has started seeing egyptians and arabs differently. there was a very negative prizm with whole region but the tahrir square has inspired a lot of people and most of the american public now sees the revolution primarily driven by
people who want to improve their lives and they have more positive views -- 70% of americans have a positive view of egyptians. host: i want to get a quick comment on some of the news of the morning -- a rather gruesome photographs of those killed by government forces allegedly including 32 children. the images of the bodies wrapped up, many shot in the temple. guest: that is so painful to watch. syria has been a heartbreaking situation. i think it is demonstrating the failure of international institutions and organizations. what we have had over the past couple of decades is a revolution that brought the stories to the forefront and there is a rise in public
expectations, not only in america but around the world for someone to do something to stop atrocities and yet we have not had an evolution of organizations including the un in a matter that would correspond to these rising expectations. we find the international community appears paralyzed right now and that is so painful to watch and yet there doesn't seem to be any prospect of dealing with it effectively any time soon. host: always a pleasure. thank you for joining us. >> it join us tomorrow on "washington journal" with robert norton about the 2013 budget repressed -- budget request. then the president of troops near you. are spotlight continues with matt lewis. on tuesday, we have clarence
page, who writes for the "chicago tribune. "washington journal" every day on the c-span. >> next, "newsmakers" with rep debbie wasserman schultz. >> welcome to old town museum, which talk, kansas. >> waking up the city for 22 years, we think we have a heck of a start. today, the problem we're having in the city with taxicabs. hang on for that, if you well. >> book tv and american history
tv explore the heritage of wichita, kansas. >> a lot of modest looking people have bindings, but what it contains is an alphabetical list of the senate and house of representatives done in 1831. i believe this was issued only for members immediate use only. they were not supposed to loan this out because, as you can see, it would tell you exactly where everybody lives, so you could go and but in all the men punch them if you'd like them. >> that's june 2 and third on c- span2 and 3. >> today, the greatest danger to america is not some foreign enemy, it at the possibility that we will fail to hear the